Mexico's O'Ward triumphs in Texas for first IndyCar win

·2-min read

Mexico's Pato O'Ward seized his first IndyCar victory on Sunday, powering home to win the second race of the weekend doubleheader at Texas Motor Speedway ahead of Josef Newgarden.

O'Ward, four days shy of his 22nd birthday, took the lead from two-time IndyCar champion Newgarden with 23 laps remaining on the 1.5-mile oval in Fort Worth, Texas.

After he was unable to get by Newgarden on the outside, O'Ward dived inside the American and went on unchallenged to win by 1.2443sec.

"Finally, man!" crowed an ecstatic O'Ward, who had chafed during the race at his team's concern over fuel consumption.

"That was a long race, but we had so much pace in this one. I'm so happy. Finally."

O'Ward, who finished fourth in the points standings last year, admitted he hadn't really expected his first IndyCar win to come on an oval.

"But I'll take it," said the Arrow McLaren driver. "It's Texas, so it's close to my heart. I've lived here for many years. Many Mexicans were out there in the grandstand."

It was a first win this season for engine manufacturer Chevrolet -- which claimed the top two spots.

"It seemed like his Chevy was a little better than my Chevy," said Team Penske's Newgarden, who had inherited the lead as drivers wrestled with fuel strategy throughout the race. "I didn't have the speed at the end."

Graham Rahal was third for Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, who won the weekend opener on Saturday, was fourth.

"Huge congrats to Pato. What he did at the end was a tremendous drive, especially over one of the best guys in the field," Dixon said.

Colton Herta and Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five in a race that saw half a dozen drivers taken out in a first-lap crash.

Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi bumped France's Sebastian Bourdais from behind as cars in the middle of the field crossed the starting line.

Conor Daly ended up upside down but eventually emerged unhurt from his car.

"Being upside down isn't fun," the Carlin driver said.

No one was seriously injured but the day also ended virtually before it began for Ed Jones, Alexander Rossi and Dalton Kellett.

Tony Kanaan managed to squeeze through the trouble but was left three laps down when green light racing resumed.

"Obviously I didn't see anything but Pietro apologized for running into the back of us so I'm guessing he just drilled us," said Bourdais, who was knocked out of a race for the second time in two days."

The series now heads to Indianapolis for a May 15 race on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will host the Indianapolis 500 on May 30.